Tuesday 23 October 1660

We rose early in the morning to get things ready for My Lord, and Mr. Sheply going to put up his pistols (which were charged with bullets) into the holsters, one of them flew off, and it pleased God that, the mouth of the gun being downwards, it did us no hurt, but I think I never was in more danger in my life, which put me into a great fright.

About eight o’clock my Lord went; and going through the garden my Lord met with Mr. William Montagu, who told him of an estate of land lately come into the King’s hands, that he had a mind my Lord should beg. To which end my Lord writ a letter presently to my Lord Chancellor [Latham & Matthews suggest “Lord Chamberlain” P.G.] to do it for him, which (after leave taken of my Lord at White Hall bridge) I did carry to Warwick House to him; and had a fair promise of him, that he would do it this day for my Lord. In my way thither I met the Lord Chancellor and all the judges riding on horseback and going to Westminster Hall, it being the first day of the term, which was the first time I ever saw any such solemnity.

Having done there I returned to Whitehall, where meeting with my brother Ashwell and his cozen Sam. Ashwell and Mr. Mallard, I took them to the Leg in King Street and gave them a dish of meat for dinner and paid for it.

From thence going to Whitehall I met with Catan Stirpin in mourning, who told me that her mistress was lately dead of the small pox, and that herself was now married to Monsieur Petit, as also what her mistress had left her, which was very well. She also took me to her lodging at an Ironmonger’s in King Street, which was but very poor, and I found by a letter that she shewed me of her husband’s to the King, that he is a right Frenchman, and full of their own projects, he having a design to reform the universities, and to institute schools for the learning of all languages, to speak them naturally and not by rule, which I know will come to nothing. From thence to my Lord’s, where I went forth by coach to Mrs. Parker’s with my Lady, and so to her house again. From thence I took my Lord’s picture, and carried it to Mr. de Cretz to be copied.

So to White Hall, where I met Mr. Spong, and went home with him and played, and sang, and eat with him and his mother. After supper we looked over many books, and instruments of his, especially his wooden jack in his chimney, which goes with the smoke, which indeed is very pretty.

I found him to be as ingenious and good-natured a man as ever I met with in my life, and cannot admire him enough, he being so plain and illiterate a man as he is.

From thence by coach home and to bed, which was welcome to me after a night’s absence.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

my Lord Chancellor
L&M: "Presumably a mistake for 'my Lord Chamberlain', the Earl of Manchester (Sandwich's cousin) who lived at Warwick House."

Paul Brewster  •  Link

also what her mistress had left her,
per L&M: "Elizabeth Pye, her mistress, had left her the sum of £200, her wearing apparel and her linen.”

Paul Brewster  •  Link

the Lord Chancellor and all the Judges riding on Horse back
L&M; "The procession, later discontinued because of Clarendon's gout, was revived by Shaftesbury in 1672, but only once, allegedly because of the judges' indifferent horsemanship ...."

Paul Brewster  •  Link

that he is a right Frenchman, and full of their own projects
L&M: "Nothing appears to be known of this proposal. ... Pepys's scepticism about Frenchmen derived perhaps from experience of his father-in-law's projects."

cindy  •  Link

...it pleased God that, the mouth of the gun being downwards, it did us no hurt...
Walt Kelly once said (quoting Mark Twain) "There is nothing more dangerous than an unloaded gun."

language hat  •  Link

"to institute schools for the learning of all languages, to speak them naturally and not by rule, which I know will come to nothing."
I know how you feel, Sam. I know exactly how you feel.

Paul Miller  •  Link

"especially his wooden jack in his chimney"

jack: (65) "A device for operating the spit on which meat was roasted" (Rogers 633).

"A wooden jack, which had almost
Lost, by disuse, the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increased by new intestine wheels;
And what exalts the wonder more,
The number made the motion slower.

The flyer, though 't had leaden feet,
Turned round so quick, you scarce could see 't;
But slackened by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney near allied,
Had never left each other's side;
The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But up against the steeple reared,
Became a clock, and still adhered;

And still its love to household cares
By a shrill voice at noon declares,
Warning the cook-maid not to burn
That roast meat which it cannot turn".

from "Baucis and Philemon" by Jonathan Swift 1708

vincent  •  Link

Todays entry on Jack made it to OED: then from previous entries;
"...they were buying of a hanging jack to roast birds on of a fellow that was there selling of some ..."
4th feb language hat on Wed 5 Feb 2003,
'buying of a hanging jack':”…jack (OED 8):
A machine for turning the spit in roasting meat; either wound up like a clock or actuated by the draught of heated air up the chimney (smoke-jack)……”
. “…Here I bought a hanging jack. From thence by coach home …”
sept 22nd sept definition and ref
todays : used as a ref for OED
“…especially his wooden jack in his chimney, which goes with the smoke, which indeed is very pretty…”
[hanging]Jack metal or wood in: [all along I was thinking iron Jack never assume ‘tis true]

Glyn  •  Link

Mr Sheply wasn't being as careless as it might appear in keeping a loaded gun in his bedroom: in those days it was impossible to unload a gun once it had been loaded - it could only be discharged by firing. As I recall, the Bronte sisters' Reverend father used to load his gun every night in case of intruders, then fire it off the next morning.

We know that Pepys had a genuine gift of mixing with people from all areas of society from the richest to the very poorest, and it's nice to see his genuine affection for the illiterate Mr Spong (great surname!) and his mother, neither of whom could do Pepys any good in a mercenary sense. But it's unsurprising that he is interested in the wooden jack (a piece of a kitchen stove used for turning meat) because he and his wife bought their own kitchen range, with all its add-ons, only last month. Perhaps he's inwardly comparing it with his own new spit-jack.

tamara  •  Link

was the company that made hand meat-grinding machines. I can see the raised metal letters along the side in my mind's eye.

JWB  •  Link

Corkscrew attachment to the end of ramrods were used to remove undischarged rounds. This was a tedious process. Discarded weapons collected after battle often carried undischarged loads one atop the other.

Dirk Van de putte  •  Link

"loaded gun"

Loading a gun every evening for the night, and then firing it in the morning, reload it the next evening and so on may seem like a waste of gunpowder. We should keep in mind though that the powder in a loaded gun was likely to degrade (moisture etc) when it was left in there unused for some time - making the gun untrustworthy when it might be needed later on. The safest way was to replace the powder very regularly, which implied emptying the gun by firing it, as Glyn notes.

Glyn  •  Link

I'm always glad to meet with Catan (Kate) Stirpin again, especially now that she has some cash of her own. In today's money the £200 that the old lady left her is worth very roughly about £18,000/US$30,000.

For new readers, Kate is a maidservant in her 20s and at the start of the year she and her mistress were friends and neighbours of the Pepys at their old address.

However, that’s what surprises me a little. We last met her on 11 weeks ago on 8 August (I don’t have the link, but you can get it through her biography). That was when her mistress felt that Pepys was a sufficiently good friend to both of them to call him in to advise Catan NOT to rush into marriage with the Frenchman - and we can see with what result!

Since then the old woman has died and she’s got married, but neither Elizabeth Pepys nor Samuel knew of either event (no invitation to either funeral or wedding) even though they’ve been back to the house on several occasions. Kate Stirpin must have got married very, very soon after the funeral.

Sam’s low regard for the Frenchman may be strengthened because his own opinions and advice have been flouted; but I like the image of the new wife proudly showing off her husband’s letter to the king and Samuel pretending to take an interest in it.

I’m also a little surprised that Kate Stirpin was able to take a strange man upstairs to her lodgings without any damage to her reputation; but perhaps that was acceptable in those days for married (or unmarried?) women. It wouldn’t have been a couple of centuries later.

vincent  •  Link

Glyn: she had 'er 'at pin at the ready;

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Methinks Pepys may have been "in more danger" celebrating aboard the Charles (was Naseby).

"By the time we came on board again, news is sent us that the King is on shore; so my Lord fired all his guns round twice, and all the fleet after him, which in the end fell into disorder, which seemed very handsome.

"The gun over against my cabin I fired myself to the King, which was the first time that he had been saluted by his own ships since this change; but holding my head too much over the gun, I had almost spoiled my right eye."

arby  •  Link

Why does the illiterate Mr. Spong have "many books"?

MarkS  •  Link

@arby That's a good point. Mr. Spong is called 'illiterate', but they look over many books of his.

I think Pepys may be speaking loosely, and may only mean that he has no knowledge of Latin, the language of educated people everywhere. He is saying that Spong is uneducated rather than unable to read.

Bill  •  Link

MarkS is right about illiterate

ILLITERATE, which has little or no Knowledge of Letters, unlearned.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘illiterate, adj. and n.
1. a. Of persons: Ignorant of letters or literature; without book-learning or education; unlettered, unlearned; spec. (in reference to census returns, voting by ballot papers, etc.) unable to read, i.e. totally illiterate . .
. . 1748 Ld. Chesterfield Let. 27 May (1932) III. 1155 The word illiterate, in its common acceptation, means a man who is ignorant of those two languages [sc. Greek and Latin] . . ‘

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Mr. William Montagu, who told him of an estate of land lately come into the King’s hands, that he had a mind my Lord should beg."

L&M: On 2 November a warrant was issued for the grant to Sandwich of the manors of Liveden and Churchfield, Northants,

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I bet your bed was welcome to you. Did you remember it was Elizabeth's 20th birthday?

Elizabeth Pepys was born 23 October, 1640 at or around Bideford to Alexandre and Dorothea St. Michel.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Bullets in those days were made of lead.

Turns out the way they made the lead bullets on campaign was easy, but it involved chewing off the excess lead so the bullet was round -- therefore, the men firing the bullets gave themselves lead poisoning!
Of course, I doubt very much that Mr. Sheply made his own bullets.
But some poor chump out there was busy doing it ... https://researchworcestershire.wo…

MartinVT  •  Link

"From thence I took my Lord’s picture, and carried it to Mr. de Cretz to be copied."

After Sam got permission for the copying, I rather imagined that Mr. De Critz would show up at Montagu's to do the copying there, this being a valuable painting and all. But apparently it was OK for Sam to hoist it off the wall and carry it off through the streets (maybe by carriage). Today it would not be transported unless in a crate, by professional art movers.

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